Mar 22, 2012 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The Skaneateles school district 2012-13 budget proposal was discussed for nearly one hour at the March 20 board of education meeting, including a line item review of the current budget assumptions by Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Dale Bates.
The current budget estimate is $29.5 million, which is an approximately 1.7 percent increase over last year’s budget, and would amount to an approximately 2.78 percent projected tax levy increase for the district.
The projected budget increase is $484,000 but the projected revenue increase for the district is only $193,000, which means the district must reduce a little more than $290,000 from the budget through cuts.
In detailing aspects of the budget more specifically than he has been able in past board meetings, Bates said district costs in various fringe benefit areas, such as property and casualty insurance, and retirement and health benefits, have increased more than 3 percent, as has transportation costs due to the rising costs of fuel, while revenues have decreased nearly half a million dollars from county sales tax, state aid and federal jobs money.
Bates said the preliminary equalization rates for the five towns within the Skaneateles school district — Skaneateles, Spafford, Marcellus, Sennett, Niles and Owasco — that he announced to the board at the March 6 meeting currently remain the same. Under those numbers, the Spafford equalization rates are projected to increase from 109 percent last year to 115 percent this year, which would decrease Spafford’s tax rate by .68 percent, and thereby increase Skaneateles’ tax rate by 3.74 percent and the other towns in the school district by 5.8 percent.
The town of Owasco currently has a 90 percent equalization rate, and if that gets changed to 100 percent, which is possible, Bates said, the towns of Skaneateles, Marcellus, Sennett and Niles would see their tax rates increase even more.
On Thursday, March 22, the Skaneateles CSD administrative team, under direction of the board of education, met to discuss the current budget projections and look at how they could achieve the necessary $290,000 reduction while still protecting school programs, said Superintendent Phil D’Angelo.
“To find $290,000 is still a big feat, but it is still a far cry from finding the $1.1 million that we had to do last year,” D’Angelo said.
The board is scheduled to adopt a budget proposal on April 17, with the budget to be available to the public on April 24. A budget hearing will occur on May 1, the budget will be mailed to every member of the community on May 8 and the budget vote will occur during the annual meeting for school election on May 15.
All of the current budget projections and documents, including the tentative budget, are available on the district website at skanschools.org/Budget.cfm.
Also approaching quickly is the April 16 deadline for candidate petitions to the school board. Three seats — currently held by Board President Evan Dreyfuss, Board Vice President Kate Cogswell and Board Member Michael Card — are up for election this year. Dreyfuss has confirmed that he will run again to retain his seat. Cogswell and Card have not yet announced their plans.
—D’Angelo announced that 37 elementary and middle school students have had their original writing or artwork accepted for publication in the 2012 Three Lakes Sampler, a yearly publication of literature and the arts done by Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES. D’Angelo and the principals of the Skaneateles elementary, intermediate and middle schools handed out certificates of achievement to all of the students who attended the meeting.
—D’Angelo and the school board also recognized two student athletes for achievements at the recent state competition: Nico Petrocci, who placed second in alpine skiing, and Khiary Gayle, who placed sixth in indoor track.
—It was announced that the high school now has a new honor society, the Tri-M Music Honor Society, into which 36 Skaneateles students were formally inducted last week. Tri-M is the international music honor society for middle/junior high and high school students. It is designed to recognize students for their academic and musical achievements, reward them for their accomplishments and service activities, and to inspire other students to excel at music and leadership.
—D’Angelo said the district last week began screening applicants for the principal position at Waterman Elementary School, which is open due to the retirement of Marianne Young at the end of the current school year. The district received 37 applications for the positions and last week interviewed 10. This week that number will be cut down to the final four applicants.
—The board approved the expenditure of $265,000 to purchase two new school busses, as well as the 2012-13 school calendar.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.